Family Business Challenges
Practical guidance for family business owners and managers. For more resources on any of these challenges, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Understanding Family Business (Case – M.I. Dickson)
An introduction to the main family business concepts, defining where and how family firms are distinctive. How to plot your family firm’s stage of development, plus the varying and often overlapping roles, motivations and expectations of family members.
2. Maintaining Family Values (Case – Bibby Line Group)
Defining a shared family business vision and articulating your family values. How values can guide the firm through transitions as well as help to shape decision making, both by the owners and in the business.
3. Developing Stewardship (Case - Bettys & Taylors Group)
Building and passing down an enhanced legacy to future generations. Leveraging family, people, financial and social capital to drive performance. Addressing reinvestment in the business while considering shareholder liquidity needs.
4. Engaging the Next Generation (Case – Day Lewis)
Developing the next generation’s interest in the business in preparation for assuming ownership and/or management roles. Providing space for the next generation to learn, develop and engage while making their own choices.
5. Planning Succession (Case – Wates Group)
Examining the process of generational transitions. Anticipating ownership and management issues related to succession planning. Asking if the next generation are ready, willing and able – as well as should the business be family owned?
6. Building Family Governance (Case – Clarks Shoes)
The twin facets of family business governance; corporate and family governance. Delineating decision making for the owners and the business respectively. Protocols, structures and procedures to help the family speak with one voice.
7. Managing Differences (Case – Linn Products)
Recognising the natural risk of conflict and highlighting its common causes. Identifying foreseeable challenges and creating a family business conflict prevention environment, including strategies for managing the associated risks.
8. Fostering Responsible Ownership (Case – A.F.Blakemore & Son)
Owners don’t necessarily manage the business but they carry many other responsibilities. Recognising the different perspectives of “insider” and “outsider” shareholders. Developing a responsible ownership culture while enabling exits.
9. Strengthening Family Communication (Case – M. Wright & Sons)
Communication is critical, particularly as time passes, putting a premium on developing shared purpose. Drawing up a family strategic plan including family meetings, setting agendas and using external facilitation where appropriate.
10. Professionalising the Board (Case – Samworth Brothers)
Building a balanced family business board including owner representatives, with criteria for their appointment, non-family talent and independent directors. Organising the board to establish a collaborative working culture.
11. Enhancing Communications with the Board (Case – Strutt & Parker Farms)
Structuring dialogue between owners and the board. Establishing role clarity over areas where the owners have final control. Promoting a culture where messaging is consistent and supported by defined channels of communication.
12. Employing Advisers (Case – William Grant & Sons)
Considering when to appoint a family business adviser. Defining a project brief to address the family’s needs. Recruiting advisers, ensuring family buy-in, and maximising the outcomes in terms of learnings and practical recommendations.
13. Fostering Entrepreneurship (Case – Timpson)
Risk taking balanced with stewardship can underpin competitiveness. Promoting a culture that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation. Developing adaptability, balancing the past and future, to support growth and renewal.
14. Embedding Long-term Orientation (Case – OCS Group)
Ensuring a balanced approach to long-term orientation (LTO) while keeping sight of short-term performance. Leveraging the benefits of patient capital. Promoting the drivers of LTO and considering the balance in terms of asset portfolio.
15. Promoting Sustainability (Case – Macphie)
Developing a purpose-led business where – through the careful management of human, natural and social capital – sustainable value is created. Building trust with stakeholders through a sustainable business approach.
16. Maximising People Capital (Case – William Jackson Food Group)
Recognising the distinctive feature of family firms around human resources. Creating a strong employee brand to enhance recruitment and retention of non-family talent, and defining appropriate reward strategies.
17. Branding the Family Business (Case – Berry Bros & Rudd)
Considering when to put the family brand at the centre. Building a tailored strategy with critical success factors to maximise the family branding benefit. Bringing the family brand to life, including roles family members can play.
18. Selling the Family Business (Case – Aspall)
Evaluating reasons for selling, including consideration of options for a full or partial exit. Managing expectations among owners and building a consensus. Looking beyond the watershed for a future without the family business.